How To Hold a Coin

Discussion in 'Frequently Asked Questions' started by Speedy, Jan 8, 2005.

  1. FreakyGarrettC

    FreakyGarrettC Wise young snail

    Im with you. (He has more post. :D )
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  3. Drusus

    Drusus Pecunia non olet

    If it makes perfect sense to you that holding a coin in hand with soft cotton gloves will scratch the metal...more power to you I guess. I hear logic and common sense is highly over rated...

    Some people also tell people who say they cleaned a coin that it is now worthless, even before seeing the coin or knowing how it was cleaned. ;) So go figure...
    joecoincollect likes this.
  4. CamaroDMD

    CamaroDMD [Insert Clever Title] Supporter

    I wouldn't bet against him...he seems to typically be right.
  5. Drusus

    Drusus Pecunia non olet

    It isnt a popularity isnt a contest at all. I respect GD but he is simply wrong on this. He has, in fact, been wrong quite often and when shown, he admits it...he doesnt think he is wrong here and thats perfectly fine.

    You dont have to take anyones word regarding this...get some soft cotton gloves, observe the surface of a silver coin, lay the coin in your palm or hold it between your fingers, then observe the surface again...its will observe no additional scratches...its exactly what I did.

    GDJMSP Numismatist Moderator

    Dru, I only disagree with one part of your comment, that above. I do agree that just by laying a coin in your gloved hand you will likely not damage it. But I do not recommend doing it either. For if the coin moves horizontally across the glove it can be hairlined. It can also be hairlined by touching the surface of the coin with gloved fineger.
  7. Boss

    Boss Coin Hoarder

    Doug said earlier in this post that you should use cotton gloves and now he is saying they will scratch the coin? Which is it? I agree with Drusus. Cotton gloves will never hurt a circulated coin. Would I use cotton gloves on a proof and touch the face- no that would scratch it. Cotton gloves on the edge only. I use acetone on my hands before touching coins and washing thoroughly first (not good for my hands, but good for coins) and therefore don't usually use gloves as I have dropped coins with them. I apply mineral oil to all my mint state coins first and this eliminates this issue. The moderators will disagree with this (which is why I don't post on this site as much as I find this annoying and ignorant of basic chemistry). I used to use 100% white petroleum-Vasoline in the past, but mineral oil seems more appropriate after further educating myself and trial and error. This nearly removes any friction issues and soaks from 6 months to 1 year have removed verdigris and other problems such as bronze disease on several of my coins. If any others feel the same- go to Collector's Society's website (NGC/NCS) and read posts from the big dogs-Condor 101 and others who really now their stuff- guys with a lot of knowledge and expensive collections. Look on the chat boards and look up coin cleaning or preservation. NCS removed a finger print off my 1913 D with lots of black marks and it graded 64 BN at NGC after conservation, so finger prints can be removed. I had this coin at least 6 months and bought it with the print on it (see pics below).
    I completely disagree with the moderators stance on coin preservation. I agree with every post Dru has written and disagree with nearly every counter agruement Doug or others have made. Everyone should look up the posts Drusus has written on these subjects on this site or Condor 101 on this site and Collectors's Society. Read these posts and experiment on common change and see. I have educated myself a lot on the topic in a short time. The purists stance on this site is not supported by chemistry. I have used a rose thorn and magnification to remove grime (and mineral oil) and sent to NGC and PCGS and had those coins grade. Only practice on common low grade stuff first. The 1913 D pictured, as stated had a big finger print on upper right reverse and black spots all over the coin. Don't have a before pic unfortunately.

    Attached Files:


    GDJMSP Numismatist Moderator

    If you read my post and keep them within the intended context it is quite easy to understand for there is quite a difference between using cotton gloves to hold a coin by the edge and touching the surface of the coin with cotton gloves.

    I agree with that as well, in fact if you read one of my earlier comments you will see that say gloves are not even necessary for circulated coins, I say to just pick them up.

    While you and I agree with this it appears that Dru does not. Dru says flat out that soft cotton gloves cannot scratch the metal surface of a coin just by touching it.

    OK, let's be a little bit more specific here. This application of mineral oil or Vaseline to mint state coins - are you claiming that Conder101 or any of the other "big dogs" recommend this practice ? And specifically what MS coins are you talking about ?

    You mean except the one where Dru says that cotton gloves will not scratch the metal of a coin ?
  9. CamaroDMD

    CamaroDMD [Insert Clever Title] Supporter

    Correct me if I'm wrong...but cotton gloves do help protect coins. They minimize oil being transferred to the coin and they are a softer surface. The key here are the words "help" and "minimize." It's true that cotton gloves are better, but they aren't total protection. You still have to handle the coin properly and with care.
  10. spock1k

    spock1k King of Hearts

    here is my 2 cents coz u asked. while what you say is correct most experts use hand and not gloves. gloves are slippery (although i use them)
  11. spock1k

    spock1k King of Hearts

    he is the king of coins although he does dive in the wrong end mostly coz thats where i allow him to jump :D
  12. Drusus

    Drusus Pecunia non olet

    This thread is a great example of lemming type behavior that I believe gives rise to the illogical and down right laughable behaviour of some collectors...We are all human, we all make mistakes, we can be wrong or one is perfect. Some people I believe are downright deceptive though most are not so on purpose. They have been told something and they assume it is true, they have never taken the time to verify. My main advice here is do not assume someone is beyond error because he is a long time collector, a moderator, is right a lot of the time, you respect him...get advice then look to confirm the advice is valid. In this case it is simple...try holding a coin in your gloved hand (softest of cotton) and look to see if you see marks after you release it...I have done this myself with an almost flawless ASE and a Krugerrand and have observed that it did NOT leave any noticable marks down to 3x magnification...When I photograph my coins I lay them flat on black velvet...I might flip them and the coin my lightly rub agains tthe velvet when doing so...never a scratch. So I can only conclude that the assertion is not correct.

    I see this lemming behaviour often with the cleaning taboo, more on this forum than some others. A man comes to this forum, he has a coin he says he has cleaned and wants to know the worth. A member comes in having never seen the coin, and not knowing whether the guy scrubbed it with sand paper or simply dipped it in distilled water and informs him immediatly that 'It lost any value it might have had when you cleaned it.' This is just bad advice coming from a person who could errantly be viewed as someone who knows what he is talking about. I see this ALL the time on this forum and even the great GD will probably say the key words that would be missing in that statement would be 'harshly' or 'improperly'. But someone told this guy 'cleaning is bad' and he passes it along until people no longer will take it coin by coin, help figure out what CAN be done, they just say 'cleaning=bad'

    In the end, I am fine with settling to disagree. I have handled most every coin I have with cotton gloves, I have held them flat in my palm, flipped them to the otherside while in the palm, held them between my fingers, more often by the rims when it comes to FDC and historical coins because I am also anal. The simple fact is, if I handed you this coin:


    and asked you to find a single scratch made by my soft cotton gloves when I handled it and held it in my palm (where I am sure it slide a bit on the cotton surface) simply would not find any...thats the facts...You dont have to place your faith in me or anyone else, you dont have to reread posts and tally the amount of times I have been wrong compared to GD, you simply have to observe it yourself. If you prefer to take other peoples word for it, fair enough.

    but I will leave you with the assurance that in my experience, and I have tested this...all the way up to a very light rub with soft cotton, I have yet to see a mark made on a coin with soft cloth. I would concede that with the right amount of pressure it would certainly be possible, but not just by holding them...enough said from me.
  13. rockdude

    rockdude Coin Collector

    I'll agree here. Had a proof, now it's damage from cotton gloves across the surface. Live and learn.
  14. CamaroDMD

    CamaroDMD [Insert Clever Title] Supporter

    See, I think you're right. I haven't ever really used gloves. I'm just very careful when I handle a coin and I haven't had too many problems. I know I have damaged a coin or two since I started collecting...but that's how you learn.
  15. Boss

    Boss Coin Hoarder

    Doug, my apologies if I misunderstood your point about circulated coins and gloves. Some of your other points are arguing about semantics. I don't literally agreeing with everything Drusus has said- I don't even know him (do any of us know each other or all we are responding in cyberspace to people we may or have never met-weird thought?) or have all his posts memorized. Him and I disagree about proofs- so no big deal. I use mineral oil on copper coins as they are so reactive. Would not use on PL silver or mint state silver (I have on mint state silver, but can mute the luster). Yes, I believe Condor 101 and many others (see on Collector's Society Chat Boards) have no problem with oil or mineral oil soaks to removeor reduce grime, verdigris, etc based on reading many of their responses. Get on that site and read for yourself. I have had excellent results. All coins I own get pure acetone bath first and then mineral oil if appropropriate (no proofs or PL surfaces, mostly done with copper). Oil and water don't mix. As well sulfer (sulfates, sulfides, etc) are compounds which react in an ionic way with copper or other reactive metals. Oil structures have covalent bonds (equal attraction for each other) and are not reactive with such ionic compounds and will repel them. Same thing with laquer- very strong bonds that can only be broken by paint thinner. I don't have time to go reading everybody's posts to prove them with quotes-my paralegal and my maid and massage therapists are on vacation so I am real busy. That naturally was a joke!!!!!
  16. GDJMSP

    GDJMSP Numismatist Moderator

    David I've been a member of the NGC site and the PCGS site longer than I have been a member of this one. I still read them both, as much as I can. Used to post on both quite actively. But most of my time is now devoted to this site.

    And I have known Conder since the days of the old Coin World forum which was before Coin Talk even existed. Same goes for those you call the big dogs. And I have read, numerous times, everything they have to say. And they in turn have read what I have to say.

    And yes, I am well aware that there are those who use oils, Blue Ribbon, and many other concoctions on their copper coins. Not only to clean them, but to preserve them. It is a practice that is quite old, dates back to the 1800's. And some of the people who do this are very well known in numismatic circles. Many are even considered experts.

    However, for every 1 you can find that follow these practices, there are 5 more who are just as well known and respected who will tell you to absolutely not follow them. You may count me among them for I learned in the 1960's the dangers of these practices from my grandfather who had been a collector since before 1920.

    Now, all of that said, all it amounts to is a difference of opinion. Some people would rather contaminate their coins with oils and such, granted in order to protect them, than they would use modern storage methods. Which can do the very same thing by the way - without the oils.
  17. Boss

    Boss Coin Hoarder

    Well, Doug, I appreciate your response. I can't compete with your experience or
    # of posts, etc, -I am probably half your age. I agree with proper strorage methods and use them all: 40% or less humidity (in the safe deposit box-best I can do where I live), all coins in either Intercept 2 x 2's or airtights, all in Intercept box's, in ziplock type bags that the air can be removed from, with rechargeable dessicants, fresh modern pennies to take the oxidation before my valuable coins do (you don't agree with this but that is all the Intercept product does anyways, so I am just adding the Intercept's effectiveness), and I look at them a lot less now that I have good photos of them. I am sure many people will say don't coat with oils. I read a post here about Blue Ribbon leaving a haze, I just got some and put on some low value coins and will wait and see. I have used Coin Care and noticed it did leave a haze after time. The only thing I am advocating to further protect coins is 100% mineral oil- whether the coin is low or high grade. You yourself have acknowledged the mint sends off all new coins with a fine layer of oil on the coins. Adding to it 100 years later with the same product that first protected it- where is there a fallacy in this. That makes no sense. Everybody should try an experiment. Put Coin Care, Blue Ribbon, vasoline, mineral oil and then nothing on several pre-1982 lincolns. Acetone all of them first. Leave them in your kitchen in an airtight for 6 months. Take before and after photos. The kitchen would mimic a non-friendly coin environment filled with things in the air we all fear, but can't see- surlfur, moisture, contaminants. I argue an unoiled coin in a hostile environment is at much greater risk than a freshly acetoned coin. Go back to the chemistry arguement. No one has made a scientific arguement for why this would damage the coins. All coins came into this world with oil. Why do we store them otherwise? The only exception, as I stated earlier is proof or PL coins- oil blurs the finish in my experience. You will say the oil has contaminants. Has that been proven? I argue the contaminants can't touch the airborne contaminants in terms of destructiveness. As well those contaminants are coated by the oil effectively sealing them off. Where am I wrong? One's authority does not help here. What is the scientific or logical reason that these assertions are incorrect? Any opinions welcome.
    PS- sorry I got off from the original topic, but they all tie together. We are all trying to figure out the best way to care for our investments/treasures for now and the future. Whether that's how you hold or touch or store a coin.
  18. GDJMSP

    GDJMSP Numismatist Moderator

    No David, I have never acknowledged that. Conder101 is the one who says that, I disagree. But I have not been able to prove it as of yet other than by direct observation.

    I had forgotten to do this until now that you reminded me, but my contact at the mint appaprently no longer works there or has changed his email. So I still have to ask someone else for confirmation on if it is true or not.

    But as I have said many times in the past when this discussion comes up, I am strongly against using oils to protect coins because oils eventually dry up and evaporate. And they not only collect dirt and dust from the very air, they even attract it. So when that fine dirt and dust accumulates in the oils on your coins and it dries - when go to apply the next coating of oil you can scratch/hairline the coin while doing so.

    Another downside is this - we are not owners of the coins in our collections, we are merely caretakers. For eventually all of those coins will belong to someone else. And if that person does not agree with your opinion that oil will be removed. Thus subjecting the coins to yet another chemical treatment to remove it.

    Then of course there is the issue of value. For if something ever happens and you have to sell your collection, you are doomed to getting only a fraction of its true value because the vast majority of coin buyers are of the same opinion about putting oil on coins as I am - that it is harmful in the long run.
  19. Drusus

    Drusus Pecunia non olet

    This is one of the few things you have said in this thread that I can agree with :) Much of the rest is assumption, misleading, personal opinion and statements I doubt you could back up with any real evidence or stats (like what the vast majority of collectors want or will buy among many other things). You seem so sure, and I am sure you DO think you know what the vast majority wants or what is right and wrong objectively. To your defense I do think your advice is often along the lines of what some (for various reasons good and bad) would LIKE people to buy into.

    I would just say, Like the owner of this forum said in another of the most important traits of a collector is skepticism and I would just urge people who read this thread and some of the assertions made here, to exercise a bit of that, dont just take some guys word for things. People do often talk about shades of grey in absolutes and while some people might be trying to help and might think they are right...they often arent or they are just steering people the way they THINK is right or have been told is right. It is often just a subjective way he has bought into or, worse yet, just bad advice or false info.

    Main points, certainly holding a coin or resting it on soft cotton will not harm a coin, this is just a fallacy. I have held many coins with cotton gloves and you would never know it as much as one would like to think they could. I do use oil at times on copper as a cleaning agent on filthy bronze and copper, I then cut that oil. No one looking at it when I am done would know it was done as much as they would like to think they could and it would not effect the price. KEEPING a thin layer of oil on will not harm the coin and it can be removed easily without any damage to the will not effect the value of the coin at all as long as you dont call a light cleaning damage. I can tell you a large chunk of collectors dont.
  20. Boss

    Boss Coin Hoarder

    "I argue an unoiled coin in a hostile environment is at much greater risk than a freshly acetoned coin".

    In the above I meant to write that "an unoiled coin in hostile environment is at much greater risk from airborne contaminants than an oiled one"

    Consequently, in response to Doug re: the idea of oil attracting dirt, I don't dispute that but I put my coins in airtights right after or send to TPG so what dirt are they going to attract? I don't leave them on the counter. We all know that air-tites and slabs are not fully air-tight but I have a hard time believing that the air that gets in is filled with dust. Of course gases (oxygen, nitrogen, sulfur, etc) get in but dusty air? If I remove the oil it's with acetone anyway, so no concern of scratching. I hav done experiments under 20 power magnification placing mineral oil on a coin and photoing coin WIPING coin with fine cloth (UGGGH?????:headbang:) and removing with acetone and reviewing the coin- no HAIRLINES noted. Maybe I will redo this with photos of each step on a nominal coin and start a new post.
    Regardless this has been an education posts and hopefully even if we can't all agree we can agree that these are complicated issues and I hope people don't view people with a different views as than their own as coin Villians (unless of course they advocate crazy things such as harsh cleaning-scrubing, vinegar, strong acids, etc) . :pencil:. For the record I agree with everything Drusus just said.
  21. Drusus

    Drusus Pecunia non olet

    One last thing, what I said above pertains to any advice, not just GD, or any one person. The best way to confirm something is by experience, by doing it. I am only saying what I have experienced, I am not passing on advice. When it comes to handling coins I use cotton gloves for uncalculated coins and with what I feel to be an almost perfect surface I will even try to mostly handle it by the edges but I will hold them flat in my gloved hand many times with no apparent problems, for circulated coins it matters what condition as to how I handle them, its coin by coin. What is funny is most people feel I am terribly anal about my coins and how they should be handled.

    For cleaning, I have just tried about every method in the book from light distilled water to electrocution and as I did this, again I drew my conclusions and will only speak definitively regarding those methods I have tried..

    In the end I mean no disrespect or insult to anyone when I disagree or state a certain bit of advice is not right. It is certainly just one mans experience. I do not want to bicker about it or insult anyone.
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